The first annual RangersRounding3rd.com night at the Ballpark was a lot of fun. Most of us got there early, ate, chatted, and got introduced to one another.
TD was there, with TD Jr, and Mr TD, who we learned has an RR3 posting name, Ballboy, but has yet to post (hopefully that will change). She graciously donated two signed baseballs which we raffled off. The Jeff Banister ball was won by Mr Flap, who was there, of course, with Flap. The Michael Young ball was won by Eli’s cousin, Hector. Others in attendance were Go and Mr Go, Twig, Co-Mentor, waybaseballgo (who posts like once a decade), me, and my wife. It was a great time, if not a great game, the recap of which follows.
Eighteen more strikeouts. This team is striking out more than a nerdy freshman at a sorority house party.
They were a pretty good 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position last night. But of the thirteen at bats in which they didn’t get a hit, they didn’t even hit the ball eleven times. They had eleven strikeouts with runners in scoring position.
That is how you shut down an offense. That is how you lose your thirtieth game of the season. That is how you allow Houston to win its fortieth game of the season.
That is how you slip into fourth place, just a game and a half out of last.
Before the game, Eric Nadel asked Jeff Banister why Rougned Odor was batting fifth in the face of his deep, prolonged struggles. Banister said it’s because he likes keeping the lefty, righty, lefty, righty, lefty thing going, because it forces the opposing manager’s hand to have to keep switching relief pitchers to deal with the situation.
In reality, it doesn’t. He is counting on the opposing manager to manage by the book. And they don’t always do that.
Last night, Astros manager A. J. Hinch was faced with that option twice. In the fifth, he brought in a righty to face a lefty. What? Is he crazy? Who does something like that? A manager who manages with his gut and not on auto-pilot, that’s who. Righty Chris Devenski came in with two on and one out and promptly struck out Rougned Odor and Jonathan Lucroy.
It was as if we witnessed baseball history. The Astros manager allowed the same relief pitcher to pitch to a righty and to a lefty, back to back, in the same inning of the same game, and had success.
Then—gasp!— he did it again in the seventh, again with two on and one out, again he brought in a righty to face a lefty and a righty, again it was Odor and Lucroy. Again, they both struck out.
So, the lefty-righty stacking isn’t a deterrent. Batting Odor fifth isn’t working. In such a high-leverage RBI position in the batting order, Rougned Odor is 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position over the last two weeks. He left six men on base tonight, four on Friday. None on Thursday, but it was an off day. He tried.
While he isn’t the only culprit (he was responsible for only four out of the eighteen strikeouts), Rougned Odor is the posterchild for everything that is wrong with this Rangers lineup.
Leaving him in the five hole to kill rally after rally is foolish.
Brad Peacock (2-0, 2.13) vs. Martin Perez (2-5, 4.19)
Game time: 2:05